This year’s Bespoked show had a special guest: Rob English made a pilgrimage to his homeland, unveiled his latest frame and it promptly won two awards. Quite deservedly, too; this stainless Reynolds 953 and carbon road bike is the best of English Cycles.
Rob was born and raised in the UK, and after a storied and varied cycling history, moved to Eugene, Oregon for a job with Bike Friday. The appearance at Bespoked was a rare return to the homeland, but it turned out to be a rewarding excursion.
This is one of Rob’s V3 frames, a design he has been perfecting for many iterations now. The use of carbon within the design has been seen before, the most recent on these pages being the Skunkworks consignment.
If the Cherubim Uli we featured this week could be likened to a samurai’s katana, then surely this English V3, built from British steel, must be comparable to Excalibur — the legendary and magical sword of King Arthur.
The frame needed a custom-wound tube from ENVE for the seatmast, so Reynolds’ headtube stock could be used for the ‘lugs’. Acquiring the tubes took a while, and in the meantime Rob and Steve, the customer, nutted out the rest of the details.
Steve wanted a more traditional, horizontal tob tube, requiring a longer seattube socket. A matte ENVE 1.0 fork was selected, and Ruckus Composites wrapped it with a woven sheet of carbon to match the tubes. It’s all about the details.
Once the downtube was laser-engraved with the logo, Rob silver-brazed the tubes, using dummy steel in place of the carbon, before it was sent to the polishers. Upon it’s return, the carbon tubes were bonded in place with pins for extra security.
Steve’s build list included some lightweight parts, like a Cannondale Hollowgram crankset, EE Cycleworks brakes (the rear mounted under the chainstays), SRAM eTap shifters and ENVE clinchers laced to carbon hubs. The final weight? Just under 14.0lbs.